And Another Day in Paradise

I went to physical therapy today for the left shoulder (the “good” shoulder that I dislocated last Saturday), and she refused to treat me because she thinks I have been misdiagnosed and have a labral tear. So no rehab on it until I get an MRI on the left shoulder. I see the shoulder doctor on Friday to discuss the CT scan and bone spurs in the right shoulder. Meanwhile, my General Practitioner is apparently far more concerned with me becoming addicted to pain pills than he is in pain management, so I am pointlessly taking ultram (which does nothing but make my fingers numb) and meloxicam (which, as far as I can tell, does nothing). I actually didn’t take them for two days and nothing changed, so I am not sure why I am still taking them. At this point, I’m just resigned to be in pain except for the hour every night when I use my cold therapy machine.

The pain itself is annoying enough, but what really pisses me off is that I am just being a cranky asshole to everyone around me. I’m usually blunt, but honestly, I’m not a dick to people most of the time. Not so recently. I’m just being jerkish and an asshole and snapping at people for no reason. People try to talk to me and I just give them a dismissive glare. Everything about me is emanating “I am so not in the mood for your bullshit right now.” Then, later on, I feel guilty for being crappy to someone.

I’m still walking a lot, because even though the girls tugging on the leash causes pain and sometimes my arm hurts just from walking, if I walk far enough and then use the exercise bike, I loosen up and get the endorphins flowing. Followed by a hot shower, that’s pretty nice. I’ve been burning lavender essential oils, and that relaxes me a little, too.

I just wish there was a way they could inject something into my shoulders and block the pain. All I want is to not hurt, FFS. I have no idea how people deal with chronic pain, but I am afraid I am going to get a first hand lesson over the rest of my life.

Blah, blah, blah. Bitch moan piss whine. Shawn is heading home to see his family for a couple days, so I think I am going to just have a True Blood binge tonight and catch up on the last six episodes (he hates the show) while using my Bledsoe.

And no, I have not found an accupuncture clinic. I’m honestly not sure I want someone sticking pins in me and my shoulders until I know exactly what is going on with them. And since my shoulders are painful to the touch, massage therapy is a no go, as well.

*** Update ***

BTW- I am not completely insensitive to my GP’s position. All doctors have the DEA breathing down their necks, there is a pain pill epidemic in WV (although more down state- google “hillbilly heroin”), and I am an admitted alcoholic with only a month of sobriety under my belt. He doesn’t know that I have a really high pain threshold and wouldn’t bullshit him, and he doesn’t know that when I had my shoulder surgery I stopped taking the pills a month before the doctor wanted me to because I hated the damned things. So I understand his position and concern, I just think it is misplaced. Hell, prescribe me something and give the damned pills to my NAZI father and I’ll walk down the street twice a day. Give them to the damned town cop. Just do something so one wrong movement doesn’t put me on the verge of tears.






100 replies
  1. 1
    FlyingToaster says:

    I doubt an acupuncture clinic would really help; it’s good at short-term short-circuiting the pain (like until your meds take effect), but not at any long-term solution.

    If you’re in this much pain, I’m a little surprised your GP didn’t opt for an injection; you should probably get on the horn to his office and have him call you back to discuss effective pain management while you’re waiting for diagnoses.

  2. 2
    The Pale Scot says:

    Well. if those two substances aren’t working, you’d have to go to the strong stuff, maybe you can get something help you sleep, chronic pain is exhausting and makes you cranky.

  3. 3
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I was given meloxicam when I threw out my back. Utterly useless. Ibuprofen worked much better.

    Sorry, John.

    I’m a musician and have done something really not good with my hand and good ol’ Kaiser “health insurance for healthy people” can see me. One month and three days from now. For the first time in my life, I have to cancel gigs. Very unhappy with the health insurance industry at the moment.

    ETA: oh yeah, the pain is making me a real asshole as well. I’m going to have to do something very nice for my wife when this is all said and done. Pain sucks.

  4. 4
    Jane2 says:

    Maybe they should just remove pain medication from the market entirely…that’ll solve the addiction problem. Or not.

    Actually, I’m shocked they aren’t giving you anything effective..that is their job.

  5. 5
    WereBear says:

    Look into pain management! Misery is not possible to adjust oneself to.

  6. 6
    Trollhattan says:

    @ John Cole No, no, you’ve got it all wrong–the acupuncturist plunges the needles into your balls and you forget all about the shoulders. Totally works.

  7. 7
    Lee Rudolph says:

    And since my shoulders are painful to the touch, massage therapy is a no go, as well.

    My grandfather’s advice for an itchy eye was to scratch the other eye. By the same token, you might consider a massage of everything but the shoulders (or entire arms), or just the legs. A good piriformis massage by itself is a thing of wonder. None of that could hurt (unless even lying down on a massage table will make you hurt worse).

  8. 8
    Bunter says:

    My bloodhound, Wimsey, is on meloxicam (Metacam) for his back. It works for him (though, in fairness, could be due to his pain meds). I don’t know for humans, but, man, it’s a small fortune for him.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    In sports, athletes are always getting cortisone shots. Why can’t they give you one?

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    Somebody else mentioned these in the last owie thread, but those Salonpas stick-on patches can work really well if you get them positioned right. You’ll reek of menthol for days, but it’s worth it.

  11. 11
    Redshift says:

    Find another GP. (I know, probably not easy where you are.) Since Ms. Redshift has a chronic pain disorder, I am all too well acquainted with the “we’re worried about addiction” BS. There’s solid research showing that the incidence of people becoming addicted as a result of pain management is vanishingly small, the drug-seeking is all addicts looking for a fix, not legitimate patients who’ve gotten hooked. And since he *knows* that you’re a legitimate patient…

  12. 12
    InternetDragons says:

    I’ve followed your comments re: your GP and the way he dealt with your request for substance abuse treatment plus this incident, and he’s a great example of how most GPs are utterly ignorant about (a) substance abuse and (b) pain management. He may be a good doctor in other ways, but he is not a good doctor in these two areas, and unforunately those two areas are paramount for you at the moment.

    Call and insist on a pain medication that works.

    You live in a university town: ask for a referral to a pain management clinic – you may need that long-term.

    Acupuncture treatment wouldn’t stick needles into your shoulders. That’s not where pain control points are. And either way, the “needles” are hair-thin and you ain’t gonna feel them. But acupuncture is best as part of a longer-term chronic pain management protocol. Right now you need something with more power to take the pain volume down a notch or three.

  13. 13
    tbone says:

    Move to Colorado or Washington! Weed works great when my back flares up, plus the side effects are great!

  14. 14
    Mj_Oregon says:

    Meloxicam is good for arthritis pain and inflammation but not so good for other things. I’m no longer allowed to take any NSAIDs but I’d love to go back on the meloxicam because it worked so well for arthritic hands, hips, knees and back. I empathize with you completely, John. Constant pain is a joy killer. I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better but I tripped over the damned thing a few years back and it no longer works.

    Oh, yeah. I hope you enjoy TB more than I did. I’m glad it’s over! (except for Eric and Pam)

  15. 15
    shelley says:

    John, you’re probably already sick to death with unwanted advice and the thought of having to tramp over to one MORE specialist. But ditto about a pain management doctor. There must be some kind of nerve block they can do with the shoulder and they will definitely be less jumpy about effective pain meds.

  16. 16
    walt says:

    Collagen #2 if your pain stems from inflammation. You can buy a cheap product at Costco for $20 that lasts two months. I’m a long distance runner and it cured me of chronic knee pain. It’s non-addictive, works fast, and has no side effects. I also had a sore shoulder that made sleeping a bit of a hassle for me. It fixed that, too. I hesitate to call this a panacea because you’re clearly in a world of significant hurt. Still, sometimes those “cures” are as bad as the disease. Unless……it’s marijuana.

  17. 17
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I finally realized this is why old people are cranky. They don’t feel good. Hope you get better.

  18. 18
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bunter:

    How wonderful to see another DLS fan!

  19. 19
    Redshift says:

    One other thing you might try to get a prescription for is lidocaine patches. They won’t take the place of real painkillers, but they can help, especially with sleeping, and they might make walking the dogs more pleasant. And it’s a non-narcotic anaesthetic, so even your GP shouldn’t have any concerns.

  20. 20
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Meloxicam

    I thought that was where they put a tiny camera in your bottle of antacid and then film what happens when you drink it.

    Shows what I know.

  21. 21
    MochaDem says:

    Have you been referred to the pain management clinic in your hospital?

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Not going to hand out advice on pan management. Just offer two observations/recommendations, and leave it at that..

    Just going to note that not all is lost with attitude, if you regret being short with people later. Just be sure to express that regret to the people you were short/jerkish with, and thank them for bearing with you as you deal with all these traumas.

    Also, too, avoid elevators in Vancouver with cameras in them when you’re taking the girls for a walk.

  23. 23
    shelley says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:
    I’ve never heard of Meloxicam either. It’s brand name is ‘Mobic.’ Sounds like a Bond villain.

  24. 24
    Mart says:

    I am allergic to natural and synthetic opiates. I tell the docs that before I get the surgery. I get the post op pills, and I shake and shiver and hurt twice as bad. I call to pharmacy and ask if opiod, they say yes. I call the doc – WTF?, and he says nothing else will work. So I stop taking and try hippy dippy shit like meditation, accepting the pain, turning it off. Sounds dumb but it helps.

    But I have only needed pain relief for a couple weeks at a time, not from now on. You could move to CO or WA and they have some interesting oils that seem to help some…

  25. 25
    SIA says:

    You need a meeting. As in with other recovering alkies.

    Eta referring to mood only, not pain

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937:

    I finally realized this is why old people are cranky. They don’t feel good.

    Truth.

  27. 27
    kindness says:

    Don’t you have a second TV in that house? What happens when one of you wants to watch something different?

    Actually you know what chronic pain people do. Most of them get used to taking opioids. No one talks about the addiction.

  28. 28
    Mike J says:

    @Redshift:

    Since Ms. Redshift has a chronic pain disorder, I am all too well acquainted with the “we’re worried about addiction” BS.

    Did Ms Redshift just get out of rehab? Perhaps he’s being overly cautious for this patient and not for all of them.

  29. 29
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    A friend of mine is running into the same problems with pain meds. She’s dying of some sort of immune system collapse with neuopathies and all kinds of crap I don’t understand. Her doc has trouble getting the insurance company to spring for sufficient pain med. The woman is dying. Addiction is the least of her problems.

  30. 30
    Eric U. says:

    I avoid getting cortisone shots because my eye doctor blamed my use of nose spray for some eye problems I had. They aren’t without complications.

  31. 31
    gogol's wife says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    But not for someone in his 40s!

  32. 32
    Anne Laurie says:

    I’m still walking a lot, because even though the girls tugging on the leash causes pain and sometimes my arm hurts just from walking, if I walk far enough and then use the exercise bike, I loosen up and get the endorphins flowing.

    Rig up or find dog leashes that strap to your waist. Runners & bikers use them all the time, so the campus sporting-goods stores might have recommendations. And if Lily & Rosie have collars instead of harnesses, switch over to harnesses — you may want to go full-metal restraint on Rosie!

    Yeah, it’s a drop in the bucket for your chronic pain, but if your doctors are right, it’s time for you to accept that it’s whittle, whittle, whittle for every little advantage.

  33. 33
    Dog On Porch says:

    Cole, there are times when being a cranky asshole is eminently understandable. Do unto yourself as you do unto others. You surely wouldn’t think ill of cranky behavior by someone in your boat, if you enjoyed perfect health. And if you haven’t already, try smoking some grass- it certainly couldn’t hurt.

  34. 34
    John Cole +0 says:

    @SIA: Enough with meetings. I’ve been to them. I don’t need to sit in a room with a bunch of shaking drunks talking about jeebus. Oh, I’m sorry, it’s not really Jesus, it’s a higher power *WINK* *WINK* *Say no moire, Say no more!*

    Besides, all most of them have done is switch addictions from booze to cigarettes and caffeine. I haven’t seen people drink that much coffee since hanging around lifers in the Army.

    Maybe AA meetings help some people, but they really do nothing for me. I’m over booze.

    I am going to go start seeing a therapist again. I think I will go back to the lady I had when I was having anxiety attacks. I also talk frequently with the guy I met from rehab. Speaking of, I need to call him and see how he is doing.

  35. 35
    wasabi gasp says:

    My GF’s pain management doctor stopped prescribing altogether, because of DEA neck-breathing, and now only does the physical therapy side of things.

  36. 36
    John Cole +0 says:

    @John Cole +0: Christ. See what I mean about being shitty to people? You’re trying to help and I just crapped all over you. Sorry.

  37. 37
    tern says:

    John,

    You probably don’t need more commiseration, but my husband was also in the Army and retired as a M1A1/A2 Master Gunner. When he retired (2002), he got 60% for bad knees, hips, lower spine, upper spine and hearing loss. We just recently submitted a request for re-evaluation as his pain on many days make anything other than hobbling a major exercise. Thank goodness his current job lets him work out of the house most days, except when he’s out training NG soldiers. Of course, now that we submitted the paperwork, the local Army hospital decided that it was time to do a hip replacement and referred him out. He gets the new hip next Tuesday and the surgeon has already said the other one needs to be replaced next yea after he recovers some.

    Guess what I’m trying to say is that constant, chronic pain really sucks and it makes doing daily living without biting other people’s head off, difficult. I can testify after being on the receiving end of the grumpiness for years. My husband finally got a pain mgmt. dr about 5 years ago. It did make a big difference at first, but things just kept getting worse. Hopefully, once they replace his hips, the pain mgmt. dr can go back to just treating knees and back. Maybe if spouse isn’t trying to compensate for the hip problems all the time, the back and knees will do better. Sorry you’re hurting and I hope they work things out to give you some relief.

  38. 38
    Keith P says:

    most of my doctors have been dicks about pain pills. When I had my most recent hernia surgery, previous scarring caused MAJOR pain (I actually passed out just trying to urinate). Doctor told me to take quad dosages of ibuprofen (wonder if that had anything to do with my kidney failure, hmmmm?) when the pain didn’t subside after a week.
    Now, my vascular surgeon who has done my fistulas and a couple of my ports – it’s injections of fentanyl and 3 refills of Norco’s. My kind of doctor! (the ones you have to worry about aren’t the surgeons..it’s the seedy ones who are glorified dealers)

  39. 39
    SIA says:

    @John Cole +0: Fair enough. It’s not for everyone.

  40. 40
    kc says:

    Find another damn doctor.

  41. 41
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Pain management: not what the medical profession is good at. If it were, we wouldn’t have the problem with abuse we have…

    be as well as you can.

  42. 42
    SIA says:

    @John Cole +0: you’re apologizing to yourself?

  43. 43
    Ellen says:

    A couple of years ago I hurt my back, in agony, pain medication didn’t help. My brother in law the doctor told me to take the maximum dosage of ibuprofen and it was amazing how much it helped. You need to get the inflammation down so you have a chance to heal. Check with your doctor about the dosage.

  44. 44
    gratuitous says:

    Pain sucks big time. A referral to a pain management clinic may be what you need, I don’t know since I’m not a doctor. What I will advise is to document, document, document your pain. Talk about it each and every visit with your doctor and make sure it’s recorded in your file. It sounds tedious, but give your doctor as much data as you can: Where is the pain, specifically? Is it sharp, jabbing pain, or a dull throb? What makes it worse? What makes it better? What has no apparent effect?

    You’ve recounted quite a bit of this, but be sure your doctor knows as much detail as you can spare. The doctor is the gatekeeper to more treatment. If nothing else, he may give you a referral just because he’s tired of listening to you.

  45. 45
    peggy says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Second Anne Laurie on changing your dog walking style. Holding a leash in your hand is pulling on your shoulder that needs rest. My dislocated shoulder from thirty years ago hurts just from thinking about what you might be doing to yours,

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @John Cole +0:

    Meetings are basically amateur group therapy, so if you substitute one-on-one therapy and are honest with your therapist about everything, that will probably get you through. The real advantage of meetings is that there are dozens of them around so you can get help any time you need it, day or night, which most therapists aren’t equipped to do. If you don’t want to do meetings, it’s probably worth surrounding yourself with sober or non-drinking people as much as possible IRL. John Cheese at Cracked has several really good columns about getting sober and how you will discover that your drinking buddies are actually assholes that you don’t have much in common with other than booze.

    As I told another commenter in an earlier thread, a good therapist is someone who you’re comfortable with but will also call you on your bullshit when necessary. I still miss my old therapist (who I had to leave when I moved 30 miles away) because she was really good at being warm and caring while calling me on my bullshit. My current therapist is good, but I only see her once a month.

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    @John Cole +0: Haha.. Did you happen to see the story about the Drug Czar? link
    It’s worth a read about how he approached his addiction. As you expressed, it’s not an one size fits all.
    His appointment is reason #621 that I support the President.

    Now I’m going to join the choir. Change your g.d. doctor because he’s not helping you.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @SIA: You might enjoy reading about the Drug Czar and his addiction. Can
    you imagine a repub appointing, even temporarily, a gay man, who is an alcoholic as Drug Czar. The link is at 47

  49. 49
    Rita R. says:

    Haven’t commented in a loooong time, but just popping in to say as someone who had a torn shoulder labrum, the MRI might not show it. After suffering claustrophic horror to have my MRI, which showed nothing, my shoulder doc — who originally thought I had a tear — believed after two months of post-MRI physical therapy didn’t help that I really did have one, went in with arthroscopic surgery to see, and repaired it when he found out I did. A few months of physical therapy later, and I was good as new. So, giving more unsolicited advice, no matter what the MRI says, find a good orthopedic doc/surgeon who knows their stuff and let them evaluate that shoulder.

  50. 50
    Eric U. says:

    @Keith P: a lot of doctors get all weird about pain meds because they think they will be heavily scrutinized by the DEA for prescribing pain medicine. And in John’s situation as someone recently through detox there is an obvious risk that they would have to manage. The strange thing is how many doctors don’t seem to care and give out strong pain meds like candy. The DEA does monitor such things, but apparently the review process is a bit random.

    I went to exactly one AA meeting because I was interested in what they were like. I thought it was fine as far as it went. It wasn’t to Jesusy, but I suppose I see that it could easily get that way. There is an atheist version of AA, but I assume you have to live in a large metropolitan area for such niceties.

  51. 51
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Baud: Not John, but cortisone shots should be given only after a firm diagnosis and (IMHO) only as a last resort, although soon enough to help. I got a cortisone shot in my bad right shoulder (various tears and some calcification) a few years ago — and probably left it a little too late, thus the calcifications — but while it did help me get back on the mend, it was not a matter of instant relief. I kept up physio and slowly went back to my usual activity levels.

    In addition, my doctor told me that was pretty much my first and last shot in that shoulder. Repeated cortisone shots actually destroy tissue. Athletes who get shots, feel better, then go back to their usual workout volume often end up what we civilians call “crippled”.

    Good luck finding pain management that works, John. Pain SUCKS.

  52. 52
    Don K says:

    GPs/Internists are really paranoid about addiction issues around narcotics. My husband has chronic pain from MS, and the pain clinic at our hospital has been willing to prescribe Percocet and time-release Oxycontin, which seem to do the trick. If you need to get a referral then get a referral, but get yourself to the pain clinic. In my experience they’ll try non-drug interventions first, but if you need strong drugs for your pain they’ll give you a scrip for strong drugs.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    Another thought, though you’ll want to clear it with your orthopedist — if you have access to a swimming pool, walking in shoulder-deep water might help you get some exercise while supporting your shoulders enough to avoid pain. But keep in mind that your FitBit is only water-resistant, not waterproof, so you may need to put it in a baggie or not wear it.

  54. 54
    John Cole +0 says:

    @JPL: that guy is awesome.

  55. 55
    Stella B. says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: did you go to Urgent Care? If not, go. If you need to see a specialist, they will get you in to see the specialist. If you have already established with a primary care doctor, then call that doctor and get scheduled sooner.

  56. 56
    Violet says:

    After surgery my mom had a nerve block. It was an IV and had a little pouch she carried around. Maybe something like that would work?

    Call your health insurance company and ask them for a referral to a pain management specialist. Go there.

    Acupuncture can help. The needles are so small you hardly feel them at all and once they’re in you don’t feel them whatsoever. It works by balancing you so it might help with multitudes of things, not just pain. It definitely helps with pain. Worth trying a couple of times at least.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL:

    That’s one of the nicest stories I’ve read. I hadn’t known anything about him. What an interesting guy, and how wonderful that our President nominated him.

  58. 58
    metricpenny says:

    John,

    I know someone who suffered from chronic low back pain and sciatica for 23 years until her knee started buckling with every step and a CHIROPRACTOR finally diagnosed severe arthritis in her hip. MDs just wanted to prescribe pain pills.

    She didn’t want to get addicted to prescription pain killers during those 23 years so she only used ibuprofen and marijuana.

    The ibuprofen took the edge off. The marijuana made her just not care.

    She whole-heartedly recommends this until you get repaired.

  59. 59
    The Other Chuck says:

    @metricpenny: The pot is certainly less harmful than alcohol for sure and not in itself addictive, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s the best thing to be recommending to someone who’s still dealing with treating a substance abuse problem.

    That said, there are topical treatments containing the anti-inflammatory cannabinoids that you still need a weed card to get, but might do the trick. Did fuck all for me though, and my pain wasn’t even in the same league as our fearless leader is likely enduring.

    Edit: looks like no medical cannabis in West Virginia anyway. Doesn’t exactly rule it out, but does preclude the topical stuff.

  60. 60
    Fair Economist says:

    @Redshift:

    There’s solid research showing that the incidence of people becoming addicted as a result of pain management is vanishingly small, the drug-seeking is all addicts looking for a fix, not legitimate patients who’ve gotten hooked.

    That research isn’t solid at all. Opiate overdose is one of the leading causes of premature death, and it usually starts with a legal prescription for pain. Thousands of people die each year due to opiate addictions that started with a pain prescription.

  61. 61
    Shana says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: My mom had the same issues with pain meds while dying of cancer, complicated by prescriptions written by her doctor in Iowa City, 1 1/2 hours away from where she lived in the Quad Cities. She was weeks away from the end and the pharmacy got all shitty about it.

  62. 62
    SIA says:

    @JPL: Thanks, will check it out.

  63. 63
    Jay C says:

    @John Cole +0:

    Mrs. Jay is a chronic pain patient (since about 1997, unfortunately), so I’ve developed a completely unwanted familiarity with the chronic-pain-medical-complex BS. And, to be fair, it generally sucks. You’re quite right about the mood thing though, but the upside (and I use that word advisedly) of your condition (maybe, IANAD) sounds like its mainly due to accidents/trauma: and as long as you don’t have any other underlying medical issues, you have a better chance of the shoulders getting “fixed”, as long as everything else is reasonably “normal” on you.

    I’ll second the recommendation for patches: if the OTC stuff doesn’t help, ask your doctor for Lidocaine or Flector: they won’t help anything heal, but for large areas like shoulders, filtering a local anesthetic through via the patch can be useful.

    Oh, AND second at least trying acupuncture. You’ll need (I would guess) about half-a-dozen sessions (2x week) to tell if it’s doing any good or not: but with a good practitioner, you might not even notice the needles.

  64. 64
    Manyakitty says:

    @John Cole +0: Have you tried Biofreeze? It’s a topical analgesic and it’s worked like a charm for me lately.

  65. 65
    Violet says:

    @John Cole +0: You’ll probably think this is crazy but since pain is managed by the brain, changing how your brain perceives things can be helpful. Here’s a short summary of a research study on how mindfulness meditation helped decrease and manage pain. Changing how your brain perceives the pain can help to lessen the pain. It sounds crazy but it can work. I have done it with my hip/back pain.

    Maybe you can find a short course on meditation or you can look up stuff online and you can give it a try. You don’t have to sit lotus style on the floor or anything. You can even do walking meditations. I find that works better for me. I really like labyrinth walking. I see there is one in Bethany. You just walk it–no, you can’t get lost, there’s one way in and one way out–and let your mind wander or focus on your breathing or whatever. I find them incredibly relaxing and centering. No, they’re not exclusively Christian. Labyrinths are found all over the world in many cultures.

    If all of that is too much, maybe just focus on breathing. It’s the core of yoga and focusing on the breath in and out is the basis of meditation. As little as five minutes a day can help. It refocuses your brain and that in turn can change the way your brain perceives pain and thus you think the pain is lessened.

  66. 66
    bg says:

    No solutions to your pain. just writing to try to save you from wasting your time watching the True Blood finale. It’s so lame. Rewatch the first 3 seasons instead.

  67. 67
    tommydee says:

    Three weeks since I dislocated my shoulder. Hated the MRI. Liked the morphine but naturally they cut me off. Best has been leftover ibuprofen compounds from oral surgery. ….. PS. I’m also snappish.

  68. 68
    bcw says:

    The ice machines like what you have are really good and you can’t cause frostbite since the T can’t go below freezing. I leave it going at night. (just don’t salt the ice…. haha.) BTW, they’ll grow algae in the tubes if you leave them wet on storage.
    I like naproxyn more than ibuprofin since you can maintain the full dose more easily since it lasts longer. Twice the over-the-counter amount is the prescription dosage. Take with food to protect your stomach.
    5% Lidocaine patches are helpful if you can get them.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @bcw:
    Ibuprofen is supposed to be a better anti-inflammatory than naproxen, which is why it’s the drug of choice for people with soft tissue injuries. Reducing the swelling gets at the root cause of the pain, rather than just masking it.

  70. 70
    gelfling545 says:

    I’m going to have my first adventure in acupuncture on Thursday. We’ll see how it goes. My daughter gets treated by the same therapist for a couple of issues and her pain tolerance is somewhat less than none. She practically needs anesthetic for a manicure. She says the needles are no problem.

  71. 71
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @tbone: Just a couple of problems there: (1) with all of strains, how do yo know which strains are loaded with cananbibols (CBD) vs. their tetra-hydra variant (THC) and (2) a stdy done on some of the medicinal MJ in Wasignton state showed not only were you getting the weed but a whole lot of other nastiness (fungus, feces, etc) when ya burned it.

    Perhaps that explains why some states went the oil route only.

  72. 72
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Fair Economist: Source?

  73. 73
    Emma says:

    God, I know exactly where you;re coming from, Cole. I take a medication (letrozole) whose primary side-effect is joint and muscle pain. I can’t stop taking it, because the full 5 year treatment means a 90% chance of no more lumps. So… I haven’t known a pain-free day for the last two years. Naproxen takes the edge off during the day but it’s prescription-strength stuff at night. It all helps a bit but the pain is always there…

  74. 74
    Van says:

    Ibuprofen actually seems to be better for the type of pain you have then narcotics. Try taking 600 mg 3-4 times a day for 1 or 2 days. Then cut back to 400 mg for a few days. then try taking 200 mg. You don’t want to take high doses for to long because it can cause kidney damage, Also take it with food and use antacids if it causes stomach problems. If that helps after a short while you could try switching to mentholated patches. I like the Tiger Balm. And I’m sorry people, but the legitimate research shows that acupuncture is no better then placebo.

  75. 75
    Els says:

    If the won’t give you drugs, ask for a tens unit. They sort of confuse the nervous system and interrupt the pain. They are typically small battery powered devices that have sticky pads to allow you to place them pretty much anywhere but your face. They give respite while it’s on, and the relief can last hours or days depending on what’s going on.

  76. 76
    carlweese says:

    High pain threshold is a real problem. When I was fourteen I did an archery demonstration with my father (he had this too), shooting from a balcony to a target on a stage. Partway through I told him I felt so unwell that I wasn’t comfortable shooting across the crowd, but only two more arrows, so we got it done. A few hours later I was in the ER with acute appendicitis.

    It didn’t bust, so that was good. That was…51 years ago…and I still have to be careful to analyze what other people would just call OUCH and I don’t notice. It’s quite tricky to deal with.

  77. 77
    Howard Beale IV says:

    There’s always Toradol….

    Flector patches also work, but a lot of insurance companies are hard-asses in not wanting to pay for them.

  78. 78
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @carlweese: That’s rough. I’m glad you survived Ok!

    Your story reminds me of this: Ashlyn Blocker – the girl who feels no pain.

    :-(

    Hang in there JC. Best of luck continuing to get the help you need.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  79. 79
    pat says:

    The thing that has worked for me is Diclofenac. Took it for a couple of years for the arthritic hip, had to discontinue it a few days before total hip replacement surgery and REALLY noticed the difference. I could barely walk into the hospital for the surgery.

    The hip is FINE now, no problems, but my stupid thumb was so sore I couldn’t hold the milk carton. So I am back on Diclofenac and my thumb is fine, thank you.

    I think it’s primarly an anti-inflammatory. Was told not to take anything else, like ibuprofen, when I was on it.

    I take it twice a day, AFTER I have eaten breakfast and dinner. Ask your doc about it.

    Also, I had several ultrasound-directed cortisone injections that helped a great deal.

    Not going to read all the responses, I’m into the Chet and Bernie series (by Spencer Quinn.)

  80. 80
    beergoggles says:

    Get to a professional pain management clinic. Get your GP to give u a referral if ur stuck in a crappy HMO health insurance plan. The pain clinic people know their shit and will get you set up with cortisone injections or morphine or whatever it takes. I have a body falling apart from playing pro sports in my younger years. Compressed nerves, premature arthritis, ruptured muscles that took part of the nerves with it, and the people at the pain clinic got this stuff under control. You’re not doing anyone any favors by toughing it out and letting it affect your personality and your interactions with those around you. Actually those around you will be thankful that you’re no longer a raging asshole.. if that’s even possible.

  81. 81
    Lurker 14 K says:

    John,

    Sorry to hear your docs won’t prescribe adequate medication for your obvious pain. Shoulders really hurt when they go bad. We were buying a cabin in a neighborhood of cabins, and one of the residents took us down a short road to show us a beautifiul cedar cabin just purchased by a retired/disabled vet injured in a MVA (motor vehicle accident).

    Not long after he took possession on his new place, they found him in a lounge chair, dead, with empty pill bottles and an empty bottle of bourbon beside him. He had suffered extreme pain for years, and was done with it. Of course as a medical doctor, he knew exactly how much of what he was needing, and did just that. Far enough into the hills to not be found until it was way too late.

    Addiction is a stupid means of denigrating people who need certain drugs to maintain. We all need di-HydrogenOxide, and diabetics must have insulin. Cancer patients, some, must have their chemo or their cancer returns. Others need beer, or gin, or whatever beverage with alcohol in it.

    People who suffer from pain, either physical like you (and me) or mental, like that guy the WaPo reported on, the ex-alky now head of the Drug War, need medication. Once treatment doesn’t help the pain any more, they find another way to not hurt so bad.

    Robin Williams found his way out. His exit proves that the government is wasting their time and our money trying to stop people from checking out, whether on narcotics, with a gun, or with a belt.

    My doctor has been treating me for a long time, and understands that I really hurt, and that I avoid drugs to the extent that I can. He knows how the DEA etc operate, and builds his records to support his medication protocols. So I’m lucky enough to have the meds I need when I hurt.

    I’m seeing a shoulder guy soon, probably some kind of surgery. I hope he will treat the pain hard if briefly. I’ve been really holding back on the current meds to eliminate the effect they might have on whatever the surgeon prescribes for post op. Can’t wait to be into the PT pain again, it means I’m healing and getting stronger again.

    Hope you get the treatment you need. Best of luck. Do talk with your doctors about your pain, how it affects you daily life and your morale. How it affects your relationships and pets, too.

    He should refer you to someone experienced in treating shoulder pain. It’s a special kind of agony, holding off and waiting until you make a quick movement, and then laying you out on the floor from that sudden movement. If you give in and don’t move much, you wind up with a frozen shoulder, worst case of all.

    Again, good luck!
    Lurker k, out.

  82. 82
    Sam says:

    @John Cole +0:

    The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is about more than just not drinking and going to meetings. From the age of 27 to 42 (about 18 months ago) I worked my way up to about a fifth of rum about 5 nights a week until I was finally tired of living that way.

    Drinking wasn’t really my problem. It was my solution to my problems…. until it stopped working then I was miserable and drinking all the time. When I just took away the alcohol I was still miserable. I tried that and I was in a bad mood all the time and had crazy mood swings and other fun shit. It’s called post acute withdrawal symptoms(PAWS).

    Maybe you are going to the wrong meetings?

    Give another one a try. Listed to other people… get a sponsor. That’s what eventually worked for me.

  83. 83
    Bitter Scribe says:

    My sister has had severe, chronic, undiagnosable pain for more than 35 years. The only way she copes is by swallowing enough painkillers to cripple a moose.

    Well, there’s only a handful of doctors who are willing to stick their necks out enough to prescribe the kind and dosage of pain meds she needs. And when she finally found one, yep, the DEA busted him. They pulled his license and he still hasn’t gotten it back, Meantime my sis has to make do with some jerk MD who begrudges her every milligram of the painkillers she needs.

    Fucking DEA. Fast and Furious. Waco. What a bunch of useless shits. Do those fuckers ever do anything right?

  84. 84
    seaboogie says:

    Suck it up on the accupuncture front, Dude. Those needles are really, really skinny, and no worse than a mosquito bite going in. Unless they attach them to electrodes, and then it’s kind of cool. I think your chi is blocked, and the lavender essential oils want to work, but they need you to do something more. And if you do it, do it often – there is a cumulative effect like with painkillers and anti-depressants, the more you keep it up, the more up you feel.

  85. 85
    mai naem mobile says:

    You need to try lidocaine patches. Hopefully your gp has some samples. Ive seen lidocaine patches work when other stuff doesnt.

  86. 86
    gelfling545 says:

    @carlweese: I don’t have a particularly high pain threshold but having had fibromyalgia for 30+ years I’m used to stuff hurting pretty much always so I can never tell if there is something new happening that needs attention or just the same old, same old. I’ve made the wrong decision more than once & not called the doctor when or as soon as I should have. (Then, of course, there was the Catholic upbringing: “Offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory, dear.” No, I haven’t been Catholic in ages but some things just never go away.) Sigh.

  87. 87
    mai naem mobile says:

    @mai naem mobile: and lidocaine is not addictive. Also as far as ibuprofen, its rough on your stomach. Do not take it long term.

  88. 88
    richard crews says:

    Have you EVER smoked pot? I don’t mean 20 years ago after you were already drunk. I mean, modern pot, starting out while sober? You are a prime candidate. It will help with pain a little, make you enjoy everything (everything!) more, and help you sleep. It’s not a companion to alcohol; indeed, they best not mix. You should try it.
    Seriously.
    As you have noted about yourself, it will make you a better person.
    Again, you are a prime candidate. Dare I say you NEED it?

  89. 89
    mclaren says:

    The DEA has been conducting a war against doctors who prescribe adequate pain medication, which is insane. People with chronic pain who take large amounts of opioids rarely become addicted. The pain meds merely make them feel normal.

    More dementia from the Benighted Snakes of Amnesia…

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gelfling545:

    Out of curiosity, have you tried a gluten-free diet? I’ve been trying to convince my mom to try it, but I don’t think I know anyone with fibromyalgia that it’s worked for.

  91. 91
    Paul T says:

    Dry drunk.

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @richard crews:

    You realize that it’s really, really creepy for people to be pushing John to self-medicate when he’s already realized that he almost killed himself by self-medicating with alcohol, right?

    I can tell you from sad family experience that when someone has an addictive personality, it’s very easy for them to get hooked on pot and make a mess out of their lives. Not because pot is evil, but because a person with an addictive personality can easily get hooked on things — like pot, or gambling, or shopping — that other people have no problem using responsibly.

  93. 93
    Ruckus says:

    John
    Careful with the ultram, it can cause hallucinations. It was given to me for migraines once upon a time. Worked great except for the side effect, which was not all that enjoyable. Not horrible mind you, just not that much fun.

  94. 94
    dp says:

    Shit, Cole, shitcan the pain meds and just take like 3 Advil every 4 hours. In my experience, that works better than any Rx pain med short of Demerol. It’s time limited, you can’t do it for months because you don’t want to blow out your GI tract, but I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even fill pain med prescriptions anymore, because they don’t work and the side effects suck.

    Edit — and I see Van beat me to it, with greater specificity.

  95. 95
    jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    I worked with a guy who had chronic pain issues. He had nothing good to say about the pain management people. He only took the meds when he had to, and they freaked out because he was not taking all of th them. Accused him of hoarding and insisted he take them all whether he needed to or not.

  96. 96
    someofparts says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes. My thinking too.

    I understand it is not healthy to do this as a ongoing thing, but as a stopgap until you get the problems fixed or mitigated, maybe it would help.

  97. 97
    Ben says:

    @John Cole +0:

    People need to remember the 12 steps… the first 3 are about drinking, the last 9 are about living. I stopped many years ago and can’t stand to go to meetings and listen to people’s “drunkalogs”. At some point in sobriety, one needs to move on a manage ones life or you will be tied to AA FOREVER. Most of the people that go all the time are just dry drunks because they don’t get the figuring out your life part. Fuck the doctors that won’t give out pain meds when you really are hurt. It is messed up.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jake the antisoshul soshulist:

    Accused him of hoarding and insisted he take them all whether he needed to or not.

    There is a thing with pain management where you’re better off if you take everything on a schedule whether you’re in pain at the time or not, because it’s harder to get the pain back under control if you wait too long. I know that’s what they tell you with NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Opioids (even just Tylenol-3) make me sick to my stomach and don’t do much for my pain, so I’m not sure what instructions people with long-term pain get.

  99. 99
    JohnM says:

    Please, please don’t waste your money on accupuncture. It’s nothing more than an elaborate placebo to borrow a phrase from David Gorski over at http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org.

  100. 100
    richard crews says:

    @Mnemosyne: I realize what I am saying. All things are relative. Pot can become very alluring, perhaps habit forming, maybe a bit of a crutch, but it is NOT addictive. And addictive is also relative. People are strongly habituated to caffeine, but it is cheap, consistent, and available. I don’t see a problem with that situation. Heck, wealthy hip peole can maintain a heroin addiction forever because it’s consistent and regulary available to them. It’s the variance and the things people do to get heroin, and the priorities that lower their lifestyle health that is damaging.
    Pain at a miserable level, a self-admitted grouch, versus smoking pot? Worth it.

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